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Can We Make a Star on Earth?

2008 ,    » 41 Comments
Ratings: 6.57/10 from 7 users.

Can We Make a Star on Earth?Professor Brian Cox takes a global journey in search of the energy source of the future.

Called nuclear fusion, it is the process that fuels the sun and every other star in the universe.

Yet despite over five decades of effort, scientists have been unable to get even a single watt of fusion electricity onto the grid.

Brian returns to Horizon to find out why. Granted extraordinary access to the biggest and most ambitious fusion experiments on the planet, Brian travels to the USA to see a high security fusion bomb testing facility in action and is given a tour of the world's most powerful laser.

In South Korea, he clambers inside the reaction chamber of K-Star, the world's first super-cooled, super-conducting fusion reactor where the fate of future fusion research will be decided.

Nuclear fusion is nature's power source. From the Sun to the most distant stars, the energy that lights up the Universe is released by sticking hydrogen nuclei together to make helium.

Since hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe, it seems sensible to ask whether we might endeavor to do the same and power ourselves out of our serious energy crisis by building stars on Earth.

The problem of course is that stars are big and hot; the Sun is the size of a million Earths, and burns six hundred million tonnes of hydrogen fuel every second.

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41 Comments / User Reviews

  1. del

    maybe they should feed starving africans first, and then a global effort to find new energy sources could be achieved.
    Also watch the disclosure project & arrivals, they claim the military already has technology which would satisfy all our energy needs without the need for oil.
    whoooo knowsss!!!
    thanks for the upload though :D

  2. Epicurean_Logic
  3. Epicurean_Logic

    Way,way,way before fusion technology is available. It looks like solar energy will be the way forward (i really do hope that this is the case), there is a great docu on TDF that shows the amazing progress achieved by the Germans (why am i not surprised) and Americans in the fields of solar pannelings and more importantly according to scientinsts solar reflecting panels that beam sunlight off a massive array of mirrors to a small area that surprisingly produes energy at a much more efficient rate than solar pannelings.

    what is also interesting is that the rising oil prices are bringing solar energy to cost parity at an ever increasing rate.

    lets hope that this technology gets up and running soon.

  4. Anthony
  5. Anthony

    @Epicuruan_Logic - Can you share the name of this doc you speak of? Thanks.

  6. Epicurean_Logic
  7. Epicurean_Logic


    The docu. is called 'here comes the sun' and it is currently on page 12/15 in the science category.

  8. HaTe_MaChInE
  9. HaTe_MaChInE

    @del - " military already has technology which would satisfy all our energy needs" the military has no... I repeat... no technology that wasn't supplied by contractors. The chances that someone on this earth has something that can make them that much money and is keeping it a secret. Thats just the stuff of fairy tails.

  10. del
  11. del

    @hate machine

    watch the docs, thats what they claim.
    Think about it though, why not use the oil up first and make a few more hundred billion from that, and then when the oil is gone, use other energy resources.
    Do you really think they haven't come up with better alternatives to replace oil? Do you actually believe the superpowers of this world are solely reliant on an energy source predicted to run out within a few decades?
    dont forget the military/goverment/secret agencies what ever you want to call them, are ahead of us (the public) in technology by at least 30 years...

  12. del
  13. del

    If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely

    you should read quotes you have on ur page more often :D

  14. Epicurean_Logic
  15. Epicurean_Logic


    'The chances that someone on this earth has something that can make them that much money and is keeping it a secret. Thats just the stuff of fairy tails.'

    As usual a passionate and logical analysis sir.

  16. WTC7
  17. WTC7

    Hm, del's thinking doesn't seem any less logical than that of H.M.

  18. del
  19. del

    and what a great contribution you just made! WELL DONE! you haven't even commented on the doc, but yet you feel the need to criticise... i can see where this is heading, so im going to stop replying to all you good souls!
    ciao amigos!

  20. Epicurean_Logic
  21. Epicurean_Logic

    @del 'im going to stop replying to all you good souls!
    ciao amigos!'

    Please dont do that del. i think i speak for many of us humble knowledge seekers when i say that your opinions are valued for their content as well as for the discussion that arises from them.

    i agree that we havn't really gotten on topic for this one yet.

  22. HaTe_MaChInE
  23. HaTe_MaChInE

    Using dels logic, the whaling industry is holding back the petrol industry until they have exhasted all the whale blubber. Once all the whale blubber is consumed then they will start using oil.

    That goes against everything we know about capitalism, nationalism, and common sense. I cannot think of any reason someone would not exploit any technology the have.


    Of course you completely miss the point of the quote...

    "If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely" is the good part

    " If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. " is the bad part.

    So I agree to your criticism and agree that i scrutinize, and I will guess that you sir "accept it even on the slightest evidence"

    I cant believe you quoted my page and actually worsened your argument. Failsauce!

  24. HaTe_MaChInE
  25. HaTe_MaChInE

    @Epicurean_Logic - I would like to defend my original post by saying that I dismissed the idea of any alternative power source in operation by the military because the idea detracts form both the technology discussed in the docu' and the urgency that real alternatives need to be found and utilized.

  26. lokomoto
  27. lokomoto

    As del suggested this is going to lead to a flame war, and unfortunately I'm going to add some fuel to the fire.

    ok hate_machine, just because you cannot think of any reason for whatever may be in question, doesn't mean that its a preposterous idea.
    How do you know "they" who poses the technologies (should they exist) are not exploiting them? Do you come to your conclusion because you have not seen the technologies with your own eyes? or because you have done extensive research on the topic?

    WHY JUST DISMISS INFORMATION!! this is the problem of so many people, why not try and just theoretically accept the claim and then critically analyse it. If the technology exists who would benefit from it, even by not exploiting it? hmmm maybe some sort of organisation who has more money than they need, and might use it in the future to bargain with other organizations/nations for what ever they may desire? its possible, may not be very likely, but its not a fairy tale is it!

    The first part of overcoming a problem, is accepting you have one! and you sir have your eyes firmly shut, with your fingers in your ears!

    I await your defensive response!!

  28. normal
  29. normal

    What a big scary waste of Billions of dollars.
    not to mention the resources and electric to power these toys
    one day someone is going to start up one of these machines only to find out that they have created something that will destroy our world.
    It is only peoples greed that has closed our eyes to the fact that free energy already exists, and is in use today by several people including me.
    Nikoly Tesla found the answer, and thanks to him i no longer pay for something that is free, Electrical energy..
    Wake up people, open your eyes...

  30. Epicurean_Logic
  31. Epicurean_Logic

    @ H_M, no need to defend sir i totally appreciate your point of view, and nearly always enjoy your posts.

    @normal, the R&D costs of these scientific enterprises are absolutely necessary for the human race and our science to progress; in fact one of the great things about the US is that this kind of investment is made available! Not the case in many countries.

    If you can look at the bigger picture for a moment the billions of investment is not relatively speaking a lot!!

    Telsa!free energy! ok i'll bite. Enlighten us on your occult knowledge.

  32. Joe_nyc
  33. Joe_nyc

    I tend to lean toward more to cold fusion if it can be successful. Imagine every house having their own power source in their basement and not being tied to corporate power grid. That's truly revolutionary!

  34. Epicurean_Logic
  35. Epicurean_Logic

    @Joe_nyc, well, i am not sure how feasable cold fusion is and by the looks of this doc the scientists seem to think that nuclear fusion technology will be up and running by 2040 at the latest.

    Energy self sufficient homes would be great i always thought that i would power my home with a diesel generator (lol) given half a chance but the smell and noise put an end to that dream quite early on. Now that we are supposedly entering the 'technotronic' age our dream could well be realised through fusion or solar panneling but unfortunately in the near future we will still be linked to the grid.

  36. AnthonyS
  37. AnthonyS

    @Del, "maybe they should feed starving africans first, and then a global effort to find new energy sources could be achieved."

    Given that the vast human population is dependent on industrial farming for sustenance, and that industrial farming is dependent on cheap and abundant oil-- if we don't find a viable energy source to replace oil soon (next 50 - 100 years) then there are going to be starving people all over the world.

  38. Vlatko
  39. Vlatko

    Right @frank.

  40. yourboycal
  41. yourboycal

    Who do we sue after the earth is wiped out by one of these experiments?

  42. Anthony
  43. Anthony

    @ yourboycal "Who do we sue after the earth is wiped out by one of these experiments?"

    Logically, your question is both, a question and answer all rolled into one. If the earth is wiped out, neither the potential plaintiff nor accused defendant would be left to sue or be sued.

  44. Anthony
  45. Anthony

    I finally had/took time to watch this film. To say I found it fascinating, would be an understatement, for sure. Not being formally educated (read as: only a high school diplomat), it's quite possibly more intriguing for myself. IMO and surely many may agree, the biggest hurdle we face is overcoming greed and the strangle-hold large multinational corporations currently hold and maintain. Then again, what do I know. The rabbit hole is quite deep.

  46. GTO
  47. GTO

    well if we want to conquered space theres only 2 things we need.
    one is advancement of robotics for the massive labor for building and repairing of are future space station/spaceship and the other fussion technology.
    cause fussion is the most longer lasting, most powerful giver of energy, and most cheap its near free actually..
    so fussion is a must if we want to evolve are civilization and conquer space..

  48. 17 tokamak
  49. 17 tokamak

    a very interesting documentary. (IMO)

    I believe corresponding to a diameter of about 6 nucleons may not be stable enough because the four most tightly bounded nuclei are decreasing in order of the binding energy itself, ....that is to say 62Ni, 58Fe, 56Fe, and 60Ni.[4] require an adequate supply of deuterium-tritium fuel which the resulting energy barrier is limited to about 0.01 MeV.

    ...nickel isotope is clearly the problem here.

  50. bogdan
  51. bogdan

    to del
    f*** the africans mate , they should learn how to appreciate the "miracle(not in the religious way)" of life 1st of all not like they are doing it now, killing lil' kids and so on .. ) so i'd rather have infinite energy instead of helping em

  52. læst
  53. læst

    @ Del
    "maybe they should feed starving africans first, and then a global effort to find new energy sources could be achieved."

    That's an incredibly weak argument and extremely simplified.
    First of all, we in the West would not have such great lives if it wasn't for people starving. The only way for us to have such high living standards is by keeping part of the global population in poverty. Africa for example is in dept to the West. To end poverty, the old western colonizing powers would have to erase these depts for them to have a chance to progress. They will of course never do this, if they did then you and I would have alot less time to spend theroizing about wether it's morally/ethically right to advance in the different aspects of science.

  54. Ian
  55. Ian

    I hate how the public has to say in any of this c***.. granted though the majority of the public is far from intellectually capable of even comprehending such a situation, just tell them cheaper and they go right along with it. This whole creating a star to harness its power of nuclear fusion? stars explode eventually.. or better yet it will collapse and take us with it. people are messing with things they have no control over but think they do.

    Solar energy, harness an already stable star before deciding you have the right to create one and risk everyone's lives. However it is a great idea "in theory" I mean that would be an immense amount of energy for a greedy person to charge money for. I use solar panels to collect energy during the day, I've rigged a treadmill to were the longer i run, the longer my battery stays charged for my home, i don't pay electric bills.. and yes the electric car isn't the coolest ride, but it beats 3.20 a gallon of gas.

  56. Vanto
  57. Vanto


    The mere thought of losing our modern day lifestyles and possibly technological progress paired with our delusional assumption that we are the most superior being in this universe makes us slaves to our own fears. The ultimate proof keeps coming from projects like this, where the end justifies the means, even if the means might be the end.

    Chances of creating a star are fair, in my opinion. Chances of a creating a stable one are probably closer to zero than 1%.

    We are a self-destructive species with a passion for irony, even though we do everything in the name of survival...

  58. thegreatone
  59. thegreatone

    whats the name of this series of documentaries

  60. miguel
  61. miguel

    disgusting, scary..

  62. Rob
  63. Rob

    good logic boys....someone wrote "why would someone not exploit technology that could make them billions"...well the military had internet for years and didnt exploit it to the public. use your brain son

  64. wait up
  65. wait up

    all this talk of making 'stable' stars or ones that will explode is completely misguided. Stars change size and such when they change from burning one element to burning another, and finally when the can't burn any more they rip themselves apart. Because stars are super big, people might term that an 'explosion'

    Fusion reactors don't explode, they run out of fuel. They don't 'wipe out the earth'. Denigrators, get on the right side of history, you're holding the rest of us back.

  66. Aaron
  67. Aaron

    Bombs don't explode as well.

    They just react violently in a small space and period of time.


  68. Aaron
  69. Aaron

    It's part of 'Horizon' on BBC2. google 'horizon episodes'. Lots of great science stuff

  70. No Kikes
  71. No Kikes

    Take to the man!

  72. J-Town
  73. J-Town

    That's one side of the argument... I agree that we tend to be self-destructive. I do however give them a much greater chance of creating a stable star, not sure it will be anytime soon, but eventually I think we will be able to harness that power.

  74. Niklas Lundgren
  75. Niklas Lundgren

    If the fusion reactor would fail and let loose the mighty power of fusion it would vaporize and do nothing because fusion cannot sustain itself on earth. To make fusion happen it's necessary to capsule a lot of energy in a super high pressure space. If the reactor would malfunction the fusion itself would just not happen.

  76. Aaron
  77. Aaron

    and what does your reply have anything to do with my comment?

  78. Grivier
  79. Grivier

    Did they end up managing to do it or not? Is there an update on this?

  80. alex
  81. alex

    do anyone else notice if the sun Goes away we would live

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